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Durham University

Durham University News


Durham University to be Church of England’s sole validation partner for ministerial training

(20 June 2012)

Students on Palace Green

Durham University – one of the UK’s leading universities for Theology and Religion – has been chosen to partner with the Church of England to validate ordination training of its ministers, lay and ordained, across England.

The decision, which has been endorsed by the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, will see Durham build a strong relationship with the Church’s training institutes via its Department of Theology and Religion, which is ranked as the top Department of Theology and Religion in the country (Times Good University Guide 2013).

Durham, one of the UK’s foremost research-led universities, will be the Church of England’s single validation partner. Currently the Church provides higher education for ordinands through validation links with 19 different universities.

The partnership will continue a long tradition of ordination training within Durham that stretches back more than a Century.

Durham is one of the few places in the world where vocational training is offered at an internationally respected level in Theology and Ministry from Certificate to Doctoral level.

The University also has a wealth of experience and expertise in ministerial education within Cranmer Hall (Church of England), the Wesley Study Centre for Methodist ministerial training, and until recently Ushaw College, the Catholic seminary.

The partnership will see the University actively engage with the Church’s staff and students to share and enhance research-led developments in ministerial training.

During summer and autumn 2012, work will continue on the development of a suite of common awards, and a contract governing the partnership arrangements will be agreed.

New academic appointments will be located in a research centre for practical theology and the first students will be admitted onto the new programmes in autumn 2014.

Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “Durham is exceptionally well placed to work with the Church in this way because of our world position in theology and religion, and our considerable experience over 100 years of close partnership in ministerial training through St John’s College and indeed at an earlier stage, St Chad’s College.

“Our history, our current expertise and our long-term sustainability provides a fruitful soil to cultivate such a partnership.

“We look forward to working with the Church of England on this proposed partnership as we continue to develop the world-leading teaching, research and training available in theology and religion at Durham.”

The aim of the partnership is to provide a high quality suite of common awards which will open up possibilities for sharing with ecumenical colleagues and training for other forms of ministry.

The Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and Chair of the Church’s Ministry Council, said: “We were impressed with all the bids we received and are delighted to be working with Durham on this exciting project.  As a University with a high quality department of theology and a track record in validation,Durhamis an ideal partner for both the Ministry Division and the colleges and courses.”

Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion has strengths ranging from Biblical studies and Christian theology to Jewish studies and the sociology and anthropology of religion.

Denominational studies within the Department continue to grow with the Bede Chair of Catholic studies, the Centre for Catholic Studies and the new Michael Ramsey Programme in Anglican Studies.

The University’s partnership with Durham Cathedral is currently embodied in the Van Mildert Chair of Theology and will be further extended in another shared post in Anglican Studies.

* Click here to read the Church of England's media release on the validation partnership.

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